Digestion & IBS

IBS Treatment with Acupuncture

A healthy digestive system is central to our vitality and well being. Acupuncture is highly effective in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastro intestinal complaints in the UK, affecting up to 20% of the population. People of all ages can experience symptoms, which often start in adolescence and early adulthood. Symptoms are can vary in different people and they tend to be chronic and reoccur over a period of time.

The symptoms of IBS range from being mild to severe, and can include

  • Abdominal (tummy) pain and cramping
  • Bloating and fullness
  • Flatulence
  • Alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea
  • Changes in bowel movement and habit

By understanding the symptoms in the context of which they occur within each individual will help to establish a strategy of acupuncture treatment.The aim is to influence change on the subtle energy level of Qi flow which affects the healthy function of the digestive system, this helps to establish new patterns of balance throughout the whole body.

Symptoms of IBS are often triggered by emotional stress

Although it is unclear what actually causes IBS. Predisposing factors may include diet, laxatives or infectious disease however it is apparent that there is a strong connection between the digestive system and emotional responses.

Whenever we experience an emotional shock it often affects the stomach first, an example of this can be seen in small children where tummy ache is often a response to a difficult situation when they feel worried or anxious.

Most of the digestive problems that commonly occur respond quickly to simple changes in lifestyle or habit. It matters what food we eat but it also matters the state of mind and consciousness we are in when we eat. Stress and tension “eating on the go” can cause indigestion, and an inability to assimilate and absorb food well. This can give rise to further problems, such as unabsorbed food, which needs to be eliminated and has an unhealthy affect upon the rest of the body. A healthy digestive system enables the easy elimination of metabolic waste and toxins.

The intricate complexity of the "enteric nervous system" is also called the “brain of the gut”. It is located in the sheaths of tissue around the esophagus, stomach and intestines and its nerve cells, neurotransmitters, proteins and the chemicals that function rather like the brain in our head. It can learn, remember and produce so called “gut feelings” or “gut reaction” research has shown how the two brains work both independently and together and both can affect how we feel.

Fight or Flight is a term used to describe the sympathetic nervous system. It is our instinctual response to danger and causes us to either flee or fight. In each case we become hyper-reactive to our surrounding environment and our adrenal glands secrete large amounts of adrenaline to power our escape or our battle. This is how the sympathetic nervous system works also known as our 'fight or flight' response. Many of us remain in this 'fight or flight' response, unable to let go and relax and feel safe.

Acupuncture is effective in helping to release congestion and blockages and encourages the renewed flow of qi (vital energy) throughout the body, this reduces tension and stress, this in turn, affects the enteric, the limbic and sympathetic nervous systems by altering the quality of information which is exchanged between the gut and the brain and allows the autoimmune system to calm down, symptoms of IBS bloating and pains diminish and all effort which was being used to defend the body from imaginary invasion can now relax.

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